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Nutanix adds ransomware alerts, recovery tools to HCI SaaS

Hyperconverged infrastructure specialist Nutanix preps for further hybrid cloud adoption by adding ransomware recovery tools to SaaS products.

Nutanix is making headway into disaster recovery services for hybrid cloud IT enterprises.

Nutanix Data Lens, a data management SaaS offered by the HCI vendor, and Nutanix Unified Storage, the vendor's hybrid cloud storage platform, now include ransomware detection and alerting capabilities for added cyber resiliency on unstructured data.

These capabilities come as Nutanix pulls together a more comprehensive package of services to compete against VMware, which dominates the hybrid cloud market, according to Brent Ellis, an analyst at Forrester Research. They also arrive after Cisco exited the HCI market last month.

"[Nutanix] originally wanted to pitch [Data Lens] more as a data management tool," Ellis said. "It makes sense they're looking at these tools and seeing how it applies to ransomware. They're auditioning to take over a whole bunch of enterprise workloads."

Added protection, not prevention

Data Lens and Unified Storage now detect possible ransomware infection within files using a signature database of more than 5,000 permutations, according to Lee Caswell, senior vice president of product and solutions marketing at Nutanix.

The detection process determines within 20 minutes if a ransomware infection is taking place, based on the signatures and the number of file changes, and reports this to storage and data management teams. Customers can then recover using the most recent viable snapshots available for the Nutanix platform.

The features are not a substitute for comprehensive cybersecurity services and do not include backup capabilities outside of snapshot recovery, Caswell said. Many customers are aware that a ransomware attack is an almost inevitable business challenge today, he added, but having additional services in place to detect changes and attacks has value.

"We're not preventing ransomware," he said. "[Customers] are realizing they're going to get attacked. The calculus changes to how fast can [we] notify them. We're watching the access patterns."

[Customers] are realizing they're going to get attacked. The calculus changes to how fast can [we] notify them.
Lee CaswellSenior vice president of product and solutions marketing, Nutanix

Even after reaching a stage of ransomware acceptance, enterprises are more interested in making sure they can quickly resume normal business operations through snapshots and other fast recovery capabilities as a full investigation takes place, Caswell said.

Eyes on VMware

The quick notification time of a possible infection is a strong selling point to IT teams, according to Christophe Bertrand, an analyst at TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group.

Storage, security and data protection teams are becoming amorphous in roles and responsibilities, so tools that can touch on each formerly siloed role can enable multiple parties to share in data hygiene.

"What you're seeing is a continued convergence of different [enterprise] worlds," Bertrand said.

The move into more data protection tools further positions Nutanix as the lone hybrid infrastructure equivalent to VMware, Ellis said. VMware's acquisition by Broadcom still has some hybrid infrastructure customers mulling their options.

Nutanix will also become the foster technology parent to Cisco's HyperFlex Data Platform customers. Cisco recently announced Nutanix would take over HCI software duties for HyperFlex hardware through a new partnership as the products wind down to end of life in September 2024.

These market changes make Nutanix one of a few enterprise technology vendors in the Western hemisphere capable of selling on-premises and cloud HCI offerings comparable to VMware, Ellis said. This competition will ultimately require further investments by Nutanix in disaster recovery tools as time goes on.

Tim McCarthy is a journalist from the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts. He covers cloud and data storage news.

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